It's spider season. (Have you noticed?) All of a sudden these small furry arachnids are everywhere and taking advantage of any opportunity to nest. I mistakenly left my car's passenger side window down the other day and came back one hour later to find a perfectly formed web in its place. Sweeping the spider aside, I watched it crawl over to the flower bed where it would undoubtedly, begin again, to spin a new home. Many of us, are a lot like these industrious spiders, creating and recreating "webs" time and time again, as the seasons allow.
I'll be recreating my own home this fall,with the creative talents of my good friend and architect, Piedmont resident, Ahmad Mohazab, and my favorite contractor, Ben Rogne (who has capably overseen our last five home renovations). We will put out collective brains, skills, and experience together, to weave an attractive web in which Cliff and I will nest for several years to come. In preparation, I have been purging closets, cupboards and whole rooms, as I ready the lower floor for demolition, which is scheduled to take place in the next few weeks. It's a process I clearly enjoy as Cliff and I have remodeled every home we have purchased during the last twenty years - hopefully for the better (this will be our fifth!).
Happily, for a REALTOR, I'm not the only spider out there. Lots of you enjoy it too, purposely choosing homes in need of major renovations from the foundations to the roofs and moving more than once. For others, kitchen and bathroom remodels are the extent of your desire to upgrade your home, while still others prefer to move into what we in the business describe as "turn-key" and stay happily ensconced forever. Even those of you who insist on obtaining the "perfect" home, will more than likely change the color of the paint and open up a room or two as your needs and lifestyles dictate. (The nursery becomes a home office and the basement a media room and wine cellar . . . ).
I think we are all a little hardwired to leave a unique imprint within our own four walls and to reflect our own creative styles. I'm not a spider expert (an arachnologist) by any means. In fact, I am a bit creeped out when I find these hairy arthropods in the bathroom shower (in the bushes outside - no, in the shower inside - yes). But I wonder if spider webs aren't slightly unique to each spider, much like the human fingerprint? Certainly, the structure has to be fairly dependent and attuned to the surrounding foliage (or window frame for that matter). With respect to our homes, the environment often plays a key role in dictating the type of house that works best. Thus homes in the southwest are low to the ground to offset the heat while homes in the mountains have steep pitched roofs to counteract the weight of the snow. Here in the Bay Area, where the weather is fairly temperate, we're not limited by the whims of Mother Nature, so you'll see every kind of architectural style in our marketplace. (Lucky us!)
Still, it's fair to say that some homes are inherently more unique than others. The "track" home in Modesto doesn't quite lend itself as easily to a reinvention as the turn-of-the-century Traditional in San Francisco, Piedmont or Berkeley. However, desires come in all shapes and sizes (as do webs). There is, and always will be, a solid audience for the well-appointed home, whether it is a stately Traditional, a sophisticated Contemporary, a worldly Mediterranean, a storybook Tudor, a historic Victorian, or the much-coveted Brown Shingle. As long as your home is thoughtfully designed, your choices are fairly mainstream (avoid purple tiles please) and the decisions make sense, from a utilitarian perspective, you are sure to capture interested buyers in whatever "web" you weave.
Spider Trivia: All Spiders produce silk, but not all spiders spin webs (That's a bit like people as well. Everyone needs a home to live in, but not everyone will buy one.) Ahmad can be reached at Ahmad@tecta.com .
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.